Pubdate: Sat, 16 Jan 2016
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Copyright: 2016 Associated Press
Author: Ann Sanner, Associated Press


Group Wants Issue on Fall Ballot. Push Won't Wait to See What State 
Lawmakers Do.

COLUMBUS (AP) - A group hoping to put a marijuana legalization issue 
on Ohio's ballot this fall says it won't wait to see if state 
lawmakers act on medical marijuana and will push ahead with its 
proposal despite the failure of a separate effort in November.

Jacob Wagner, the cofounder of Ohioans to End Prohibition, said in an 
interview Friday that his organization remains focused on gathering 
the more than 305,000 valid signatures needed by July to get its 
"Cannabis Control Amendment" before voters in the presidential election year.

His comments come a day after Ohio House leaders joined two marijuana 
legalization advocates in announcing a task force to study medical marijuana.

Wagner said convening a task force "doesn't mean the fight is over. 
It certainly doesn't mean that they are going to pass anything good, 
anything substantial anytime soon."

He said sick patients who could benefit from access to medical 
marijuana cannot afford to wait the task force's outcome.

"We still have to keep moving forward with what we're trying to do," 
Wagner told The Associated Press.

His group's proposed constitutional amendment seeks to legalize pot 
for medical and recreational use and leave cannabis production to the 
free market. Adults 21 and older could legally grow up to six mature 
marijuana plants and have up to 100 grams, about 3.5 ounces. Patients 
would have higher limits. Medicinal marijuana users could have up to 
200 grams, or 7 ounces, and a dozen mature plants.

Wagner said the group has collected roughly 60,000 to 70,000 
signatures so far and is working raise money for its campaign.

The future of marijuana in Ohio has been facing uncertainty since 
last fall, after the overwhelming defeat of a separate effort to 
legalize cannabis for both medical and recreational use in a single vote.

The measure, Issue 3, would have established 10 sites with exclusive 
authority to grow marijuana, and with profits going to the issue's 
deep-pocketed investors.

Wagner said he doesn't view voter opposition to Issue 3 as a 
rejection of marijuana legalization in general.

"The defeat last year was just a straight-up rejection of greed," he 
said. "It was just a rejection of that specific plan."

Voters opposed Issue 3 nearly 64 percent to 36 percent, but polls 
have suggested Ohioans support medical marijuana.

State lawmakers have been weighing how to address the issue.

On Thursday, Ohio House leaders joined two marijuana legalization 
advocates in announcing a broad task force that included members from 
business organizations, law enforcement and medical associations. 
Among the members named was Jimmy Gould, a key supporter of the 
ResponsibleOhio campaign that brought Issue 3 to the ballot.

Gould told reporters Thursday that he believed the task force would 
work in good faith to get something done on medical marijuana.

"When you lose, you get back up on your feet and take the best path 
that's available to you," Gould said. "I think this mechanism, this 
way, is probably the best way we possibly could go about it."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom